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How to Locate and Check Automatic Transmission Fluid Levels

The transmission system in automatic cars is generally more intricate than that in manual cars. If you own a car with an automatic transmission, it is very important that you at least have basic knowledge of how this kind of transmission works. This will help you gain a general understanding of your transmission requirements, so you can take steps to ensure it is well-cared for. One of the most important components of any automatic transmission system is the transmission fluid.

Transmission fluid performs various important tasks, including (1) keeping all the moving parts well-lubricated; (2) cooling down the transmission so it does not overheat; and (3) transferring hydraulic pressure from one part of the transmission to another when shifting gears. Therefore, you will face serious operating inefficiencies if your automatic car is left to run on low transmission fluid.

Read on to acquaint yourself with how you can locate and check automatic transmission fluid levels.

Locate the transmission dipstick

The dipstick inserted inside your transmission fluid is meant to serve a very important purpose – that of allowing you to check the automatic transmission fluid level. The first thing you need to do is to locate your transmission dipstick, but how can you go about this?

In most automatic cars, the transmission dipstick can be found near the oil dipstick. To allow for easy access, it is usually labelled. For cars with front wheel drive trains, it should be jutting out of the transaxle, which is located near the front of the vehicle. In case you are unable to locate your transmission dipstick, you can always consult the car owner's manual to know its whereabouts. Once you find the location of the dipstick, you can now go ahead and check your transmission fluid level.

Check transmission fluid level

Your transmission fluid must be warmed up before the fluid level is checked. You can do this after parking your car and letting the engine cool down to the right temperature. Otherwise, you will need to start the car and let the engine run until the transmission fluid attains the desired temperature level. Once that is done, reach for the dipstick, pull it out and check the markings on the stick to determine whether or not you are running low on transmission fluid. Usually, there are two markings– one indicating the upper limit and the other one showing the lower limit.

Wipe off the fluid from the dipstick using a clean rag and check the fluid level. You can re-insert the dipstick back into your transmission fluid and repeat this procedure twice or thrice just to make sure you are getting accurate fluid levels. While you are at it, also make sure to check the colour, smell and consistency of your transmission fluid so you can replace it if need be.

If you don't want to do this on your own, visit a local transmission services shop in your area.